Crew training companies are misleading crew to take PSA alone

Superyacht crew around the world are being issued non-conformities because they only hold the mandatory Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA) certificate instead of the Proficiency in Dedicated Security Duties (PDSD) according to experts.

Michael Henson from Yachting Pages Media Group explained, “Our research has shown that the PSA is simply not enough to work on many yachts and crew are being forced to take the PDSD or risk losing their job due to an industry wide miscommunication.”

Paul Russell, senior marine training consultant at Maritime Skills Academy Ltd explained, “I have found that people have completed the PSA and then had to return to complete the PDSD. I would have thought that ALL staff would have a security duty and therefore would need to complete the latter.”

Most yacht crew when starting in the industry are led to believe that the basic PSA course, which is a mandatory module of the STCW is sufficient for a role on board a yacht. However the PSA is designed for those seafarers with no dedicated security duty or function under the Ships Security Plan (SSP), if a crew member has a security function on board and they do not hold the correct certificate, they run the risk of the whole superyacht getting issued with a non conformity.

David Goldie, general manager for Akula Yachts and a former compliance officer for a large cruise line company told Yachting Pages Media Group, “Nearly every crewmember on a large yacht has some kind of dedicated security duty like standing watch or being a sentry on the passerelle. They most certainly have an additional function listed in the SSP should the yacht change security levels. In fact any function listed in the SSP dictates that the crewmember must hold the PDSD. “

Ashleigh Cecchini, crew and training marketing co-ordinator at bluewater yachting added, “It is certainly true that almost every crewmember does have a designated security duty, and we have in fact stopped offering the PSA module other than an integral module of basic training.  For some six months we have been advising all crew to take the PDSD. There is a general trend now for crew to start taking PDSD even if they already have PSA.”

However, Sean Cumming of 2 Oceans Maritime Academy confirmed, “The PSA course has been an issue with training companies for a while, especially in Cape Town. There is unfortunately no clear understanding on this issue.”

Malcolm Jacotine, superyacht captain stated, “I would recommend anyone entering the yacht industry to have the correct security qualification so as not to limit their employment prospects.”

Although effort has been made to highlight the need for crew to take the PDSD, some training providers are still recommending that crew only take the PSA.

By the letter of the law only having the PSA is correct, but it is misleading and it is only a matter of time before issues arise. What would really benefit crew would be if training establishments included the PDSD rather than PSA when doing their initial training.

It is important to state that compulsory security whether PSA or PDSD only applies to yachts that comply with the ISPS Code; commercial yachts, PYC yachts and those private yachts that voluntarily comply.

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